It takes some preparation and strategy to get the most out of your camp experience. Summer camp is a glorious place for fostering new adventures, partnerships and fun! The Full Life Ahead Summer camp experience can be life changing while you soak up some sun, have some fun, and bask in the brilliance of the amazing ideas shared with you over the course of the weekend.
A simple plan is all you need to get the most out of camp. With our plan in hand, you can pick the best ideas for you and your family. Start a week before camp begins, or earlier if you want. Sit down with your favorite beverage at the kitchen table or any other comfortable spot, grab a sheet of paper and a pen, a notebook or even your iPad or Smart Phone.
Make a list of the top four questions or concerns you have regarding education needs, understanding the transition process, learning more about employment and housing opportunities or Social Security challenges.
Your list is your camp compass. These questions and concerns will guide you to the best presenters, experienced parents and camp volunteers to find the answers you seek.
Every good camp experience challenges us to grow. The unfamiliar environment can bring about a touch of anxiety. Just remember, the Full Life Ahead experience is all about HOPE and encouragement. Feel free to approach presenters, board members and other parents, even to pull folks aside during mealtimes, at the dance, or when everyone is just “hanging out” near the lake or campfire. Everyone is there to help!
Gather phone numbers and email addresses. Be sure to follow up. You are building your team of experts who will help you navigate the complexities of the service delivery system.
Let’s keep it simple and think of C.A.M.P. in a new way:
C is for Connecting, Conversation, Caring and Curiosity.
- Connect with new friends, share ideas and beliefs, and grow your community of support.
- Conversation is the glue that holds community together. Together with your new connections you will find you can achieve more than you ever thought possible.
- Caring for yourself and your family is the most important part of the camp experience. Enjoy!
- Be curious. Ask questions.
A is for Adventure, Advice and Advocacy.
- Look at camp through the eyes of a child. See it as both an outdoor adventure full of cozy cabins, swimming and fun activities.
- Ask for advice.
- Advocate for your child and family. Camp is one more opportunity to connect to resources to meet your needs.
M is for Maximize, Mapping the future and Memories.
- Go for it! Camp is no time to sit on the sidelines. The reward comes from maximizing your experience.
- Gather all those new ideas using them to map out a better future. Be sure to ask your new friends to help, if needed.
- Hold the memories close to your heart. Camp is one place where you will be able to relax with your family in a place where you are safe and understood.
P is for Passion, Purpose and Partnerships.
- Here, at camp, anxiety will be replaced with HOPE and passion. You will leave the Full Life Camp experience energized.
- You will gain more understanding of your personal purpose in helping your family as it grows and matures. The days of wandering through the various systems you interact with will disappear as you have the tools, the focus and a clear purpose in creating a Full Life Ahead for everyone in your family.
- Parent Partnerships Rock! Parents are in many ways more powerful than professionals, especially when they work together. Just look at the Full Life Ahead organization as evidence of what purposeful and committed parent partnerships can accomplish.
Remember there is a Full Life ahead waiting for you! Embrace the camp experience we provide and it will embrace you.
Learn more about what HOPE team is and how having one can not only help your child reach immediate goals, but can create a lifelong support system for him/her and your family. Contact The Full Life Ahead Foundation office at 205-439-6534 or email Tammy.Moore@FullLifeAhead.org
Even though Katherine Carol is based in Denver, Colorado, she has been a long-friend and frequent visitor to Full Life Ahead events. Katherine currently serves as Chairperson of the Colorado Developmental Disabilities Council and is a Board Member for the Washington (state) Initiative on Supported Employment. Most importantly, her partnership with her daughter, Mikelle Learned, who experiences cerebral palsy, has served to pioneer innovative and inclusive opportunities for people with disabilities and their families. Visit Katherine and Mikelle at The Shining Beautiful website for more blogs and videos authored by Katherine, Mikelle and members of the Shining Beautiful Community.